Hi guys, I am interested to see if anyone here uses an outboard motor to assist in docking. I always have to launch and recover at a dock and it can be challenging to do so on my Nacra 460 (it was not much of an issue with the Wave because I did not care if I hit the dock).
What do you guys who have to dock a boat do? Do you use a small outboard/trolling motor? Paddle in? (would the tough in the the SF Bay winds). Any recommendations on motors? I like the Torqueedo, but not the price tag.
I have had 2 Catamarans equipped with outboard mounts from http://cheatabrackets.com
I have used both gasoline powered outboard and small trolling motor on them. There are pro's and con's to each configuration:
Outboard was faster (10mph plus with 4hp tohatsu) and had better range but heavier in total weight.
30 lb thrust trolling motor was slower (4-6mph) and not much range because of the 12v motorcycle battery but more maneuverable because motor turns 360 degrees and about 30lbs less total weight than gas powered outboard. Also, once I added a bracket for the battery from the forward beam the boat had better balance.
So, for distance and speed you want gasoline powered outboard. For small docking maneuvers with less impact on performance the trolling motor works well.
Please let us know which one worked better for you.
One more thing, Torqueedo is expensive. My cats are allergic to expensive.
Edited by bradinjax on Jun 09, 2018 - 09:23 AM.
Best of all worlds
lots of range
With their integrated lithium-manganese, high-performance battery, the Torqeedo Travel motors are the only electric outboard motors which do not need an external battery connection. The Travel 503S is a true lightweight, with a total weight of 28 pounds including the battery. For uses where the mobility of the Travel model is not important or where a larger battery bank is required, the motor can also be connected to standard lead batteries using an optional battery adapter. Thanks to the integrated GPS receiver, the tiller display provides continuous information about range, speed over the ground and battery capacity. An acoustic signal tells you when there is 30%, 20% and 10% charge remaining. Then, just hook up the integrated lithium battery to a charger connected to the mains. By the way, with the new rapid charger, the Travel 503S is charged in half the time. Charging via an on board 12V system is also possible.
• Can do everything that a 1.5 HP gas outboard can, plus it is environmentally friendlier, quieter, lighter and more convenient
• Completely waterproof (IP 67)
• Perfect drive for kayaks, small boats, dinghies, tenders, jollies, and daysailers up to 1.5 tons of displacement
• On-board computer with GPS-based calculation of remaining range
• Can be easily dismantled for transport and space-saving storage
• Expedited shipping not available due to size or HazMat
• Discounts and/or coupons do not apply to this item
• This item is a Hazardous shipment and will require signature on delivery
The Torqueedo model Travel 1003S would be a better apples to apples comparison to my experience in range and speed with a 30lb thrust trolling motor and 1200 amp motorcycle battery.
Used trolling motor, new battery and solar powered trickle charger was under 200$ compared to 1999$ plus shipping from UK.
Torqueedo makes a fantastic product, So does OceanVolt but that technology is expensive. As battery technolgy develops the prices will come down. I cant wait. The merge of electric drive systems and multihulls is a natural fit.
agreed on all points
i was just throwing out the "over the top" option
I saw torqeedo's at a small boat festavale and was like ... hell yea!
as the new owner of a 40vlawn mower (i LOVE not having a 4th gas powered engine to deal with)
always have an inverter and 12v deep cell (for island camping / outages) - that uses solar trickle panels
brand new (delivering tues) duel fuel (propane) 3500 watt generator .... for our next hurricane ... (love not another engine to find out has gummed up my carb)
i am trying to be off grid as much as possible
but i recognize these lithium-ion, 30 and 40volt batts, 30amp extension cords, molded plastics everything, horrific labor practices abroad ...
... Aint' so green
Thanks for the replies guys, I appreciate it. Basically what I thought.
Here is a little more about what's going on:
Last year I bought the 460, replacing a Wave, and it's been a fun and fast boat, but I always need crew... this has become a disappointment, not that I dont mind the crew, but I feel I can't go without.
The SF Bay typically has high winds (today its in the mid 20s and may hit 30; it's gusting to 40 at SFO) and sailing the Wave solo (with jib) in 20mph winds was in my ability as well as docking the boat and loading it. The Nacra is just 'that' much bigger and I am not sure if I can dock it solo, and maneuvering around the dock to the trailer is also challenging with help. I fear damaging the Nacra on the dock, where the Wave, well who cares if it hits the dock or trailer it's plastic.
So, on my second year I question if I should sell the Nacra. My crew (one guy) says dont sell it. My wife, who I seldom get on the boat, does not have a strong opinion. My son loves it, but rarely goes and thinks I should sell it to put locking differentials in the Jeep.....
I still own the Wave and I will need to move it from work this summer (they have been good to me). One boat must go this summer.
I can't justify the cost of a Torqueedo and dang that motor mount is another $500. Aint gonna happen. However, I could probably make a workable mount. Perhaps another motor solution. I'm going to explore the idea of an inexpensive motor and a motorcycle battery. Honestly, I probably only need 10 minutes of battery life to dock and load the boat.
Both boats are fully loaded. The Nacra is a sport model, so it has a battened jib and spinnaker. I would love to put a roller furling jib on it, but by the time I'm done with that it's another $1k.
The Wave has 3 main sails (one is a fancy aftermarket, I forget who made it), a jib and spinnaker. The main thing I dont like about the Wave is the constant diving of the leeward bow when I am screaming across the water and it's speed when compared to the Nacra.
One other thought I have is to sell both boats and chase down a Dragoon, assuming that the stepped back mast helps prevent the leeward bow from digging in (there is one locally, it's pricey)
My first instinct is to say, "sell the Nacra" and I keep thinking that, well until I sail it, then I am unsure of what to do.
What would you guys do?
22 seconds of entertainment: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nlmKwSDN1M4
Edited by tradisrad on Jun 09, 2018 - 04:46 PM.
Don’t sell the Nacra....a 460 is a single hand boat for an adult size person in my opinion. Unless you and your crew are below average size you don’t need two up in reasonable conditions. If you shop around you can get used parts for the furler and add it for 300ish but I guess you might need a new jib too.
Collierville (Memphis), TN
Supercat 15--sold :(
Vanguard 15--traded for...
Hobie 14–sold to make room for...
I sailed a few times at the Alameda Sailing Center back when it was still a US Navy base and have much respect for the strong winds, tides and currents in the area.
Reading your post closely I get the sense you are comfortable with the wave and having fun but the 460 is a challenge. So, do you want to be challenged and try upping your skills or is this hobby simply an escape from whatever is your full time job?
I had to look up the Hobie Dragoon because I had never heard of it but it is a youth high performance multihull trainer from Hobie Europe for a target age of 12 to 14 with twin traps and spinnaker option and a length of 13 ft. It does not sound like a good choice to me. I think that would sail pretty horribly with a full grown man on it.
Like the time I tried a friends kids H14 Turbo with 20 mph offshore winds. 20 mins of superfun downwind and 2 hours of wallowing tacks to get home. I am 6ft 190lbs.
How about sell the 460 to your crew and use the wave? Your friend will need crew occasionally. Best of both worlds!
Edited by bradinjax on Jun 09, 2018 - 08:59 PM.
The 20 second video says it all. Keep the 460!!
Can you head straight for the ramp and round up the last 15-20 feet, jumping off the lee hull with your righting line in waist high water? Pull the boat towards the dock then hop up and cleat the line bows into the wind. Lee rudder should be up well in advance and jib sheet out at some point. This technique can be practiced in open water to get an idea of how your boat will perform under existing conditions. I do this all the time with or without crew (mostly solo) and it works every time at any wind speed. Once in the water, don't waste time or the boat will drift onto the ramp.
See this video at the 5 min mark to get an idea. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1_ci95oCKEs&t=8s
Don't complicate things with a motor while under sail power. You need to focus on as little as possible at the ramp.
Hope this helps
We took the 460 to Pillar Point today. Went out in the ocean, the swells were small and the wind was blowing 15+ and gusting to the mid 20's. Docking was easy peasy. The wind was blowing straight down the length of the dock and docking was a matter of putting it in irons and stepping off. The dock also had a rubber bumper all around it. Nice! I do have fenders on the boat as well.
The biggest challenge right now is around the dock. I'm sure I can handle the boat single handed in 10 to 15 MPH winds and maybe more. It's getting back to the dock and on the trailer that I worry about. Today was great and I wish it was always like that.
I though the Nacra would be THE perfect single hander. The main thing I need to do is man-up and take it out, solo, on a light wind day. I may surprise myself. I weigh about 160 and my crew can be as light as 110 and up to 140 or so.
That is a nice wide ramp in the video. All the ramps here are two boats wide. I'd have to be super quick.
For now I am thinking the right move is to sell the Wave and not look back. It's a nice, nice boat and I should get a reasonable amount for it. I can take some of that money and put a furling jib on the Nacra and I will be investigating all the other options for assisted docking.
I'll let you guys know what happens,
From left field, have you looked into longitudinal fenders? Something like this:
...or maybe inflatable:
Tie one of those alongside and you could probably be a little less gentle with docking.
I agree with your crew who says don't sell, I'm amazed at your wife who has no strong opinion (not many of those!), and I say split the difference with your son... a locker in back for the Jeep would allow you better surety launching in mountain lakes. And hey, if you're launching at Loon Lake, you might as well sample a little bit of the Rubicon. :p
I'm no engineer, but a light motorcycle battery (they are doing impressive things with lithium chemistry), a variable speed motor, and direct-drive prop shaft might be interesting to play with, especially if you only need 10 minutes. There was a fella on here a while back who reported he had decent results with an 18V hand drill and the equivalent of a propeller-on-a-stick.
Then again, I spent more time screwing fasteners into a deck in the sun this weekend, and only a few hours sailing, so I've proven once again that I make poor choices. :p
Randii (more toys is better, except for the maintenance)
We love Loon Lake and have camped there for the past 8 years. Sadly, I forgot to reserve it for this year and by the time I got to it my favorite sites (7 & 8) were booked. I still may find myself up there this season.
I rebuilt a junk yard 8.25 LSD axle for the Jeep just a few months ago. The locker will go in the front axle. I must say that at low tide yesterday I was happy to have the limited slip as my tires spun a little on the muck at the bottom of the ramp.
The wife: she is a keeper. I found the Nacra on eBay last year and I asked if I could buy it. After some discussion and thought she said yes. I then told her it was in Texas, I don't recall if there was an eye roll or not. Anyhow, a few weeks later my crew and I were driving to Texas.... I'm almost embarrassed that I drove so far for a boat, but I can probably say that I have the only catamaran in the world that has visited Ice Caves New Mexico.
I do think a small trolling motor and a motor cycle battery may be the way to go. I've been surfing CraigsList and have seen some fair deals.